if i've learned anything from life, it’s that sometimes, the darkest times can bring us to the brightest places....i've learned that the most toxic people can teach us the most important lessons....that our most painful struggles can grant us the most necessary growth and that the most heartbreaking losses of friendship and love can make room for the most wonderful people......i've learned that what seems like a curse in the moment can actually be a blessing and that what seems like the end of the road is actually just the discovery that we are meant to travel down a different path......

i've learned that no matter how difficult things seem, there is always hope.....i've learned that no matter how powerless we feel or how horrible things seem, we can’t give up.....we have to keep going.....even when it’s scary, even when all of our strength seems gone, we have to keep picking ourselves back up and moving forward, because whatever we’re battling in the moment, it will pass, and we will make it through.....we've made it this far....we can make it through whatever comes next....

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer/contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favour. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Author Unknown
Pav bhaji is a Maharashtrian fast food dish that originated in Mumbai cuisine. Pav bhaji is a spicy preparation with a mixture of vegetables, either whole or mashed, a generous dose of fresh tomatoes, a dollop of butter, consumed with warm bread or slightly toasted in butter - an all-time, anytime favorite with Mumbaikars. It is native to Mumbai and has now become popular in most metropolitan areas in India. Pav means bread and bhaji means vegetable dish in Marathi.

The origin of this dish is traced to textile mill workers in Mumbai. The mill workers used to have lunch breaks too short for a full meal, and a light lunch was preferred to a heavy one, as the employees had to return to strenuous physical labor after lunch. A vendor created this dish using items or parts of other dishes available on the menu. Roti or rice was replaced with pav and the curries that usually go with Indian bread or rice were amalgamated into just one spicy concoction, the 'bhaji'. Initially, it remained the food of the mill-workers but with time the dish found its way into restaurants.


A few months back I was in Mumbai and for sure went to Juhu Chowpatty which is famous for pav bhaji. I was so consumed in eating the pav bhaji, that I forgot to click a snap. I found this interesting video sometime back and thought it should definitely make its way into this post. This shows clearly how its actually made in the fast food joints. Must watch!


Coming to the recipe......

Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 large carrot, cubed
2 potatoes, cubed
1 capsicum, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped,
8-10 french beans, string and chopped,
1/4 cup green peas,
2 onions, finely chopped,
2 tomatoes, finely chopped,
2 green chillis, slit length wise,
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
2 tsp red chilli powder, (more if you like it spicy)
2 tbsps Everest Pav Bhaji Masala,
1 tbsp lemon juice,
2-3 tbsp salted butter,
Salt to taste,
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish,
10-12 pav bread, lightly toasted in butter,


Method:

  1. Pressure cook potatoes, cauliflower, peas, beans and carrot along with 1 cup of water, till soft. Drain any left over water and keep aside. Mash all the cooked vegetables using a masher.
  2. Heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the green chillis and onions and saute until translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for some more time. Add the capsicum and fry well.
  3. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, and a little salt and mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until soft.
  4. Now add the mashed vegetables along with a cup of the drained vegetable stock and cook on high for 2-3 mins. Reduce flame and simmer for about 10 mins.
  5. The gravy will begin to thicken. Adjust the salt. Now add the pav bhaji masala in the end and mix well. Turn off heat and add a good dollop of butter and lemon juice and combine. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot with lightly toasted pav with chopped onions and a slice of lemon on the side.


This is a great evening snack and can be very filling.

Enjoy :-)
I realized pasta's are the easiest one pot meals. If you have the sauce ready its just a matter of few minutes to dish up something hot and spicy, especially on cold winter evenings.

I have a few packets of different kinds of pasta's stocked up in my pantry. I tried Basil Pesto Pasta earlier and it was too good!

Italian cooking uses a lot of fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil. All these really make a difference to the dish. It does take a while for the Indian palate to adapt to this cuisine.


What is most important is cooking the pasta well. When you drop pasta into a pot of boiling water, the starch granules on the surface of the pasta instantly swell up to their maximum volume and then pop. The starch rushes out and, for a brief time, the pasta's surface is sticky with this exuded starch. Eventually, most of this surface starch dissolves in the water and washes away, and the pasta surface becomes a soft solid.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while cooking pasta:

Stir at the start - To keep pasta from sticking, stir during the first minute or two of cooking. This is important.
Add salt, but not oil - Pasta that's cooked in oily water will become oily itself and, as a result, the sauce slides off, doesn't get absorbed, and you have flavorless pasta. Salted water flavors the pasta. A generous amount of salt in the water seasons the pasta internally as it absorbs liquid and swells. The pasta dish may even require less salt overall.
Hot pasta absorbs more sauce - Behind every great pasta is a great sauce. And it's not just the flavor of the sauce that matters, but when and how the sauce and the pasta get combined.
Toss hot pasta with hot sauce quickly - without rinsing it, so the pasta absorbs more sauce and flavor. As it cools, the swollen starch in the pasta crystallizes and becomes insoluble, and the pasta won't absorb as much sauce.


Serves 4
Ingredients:
3 cups fusilli pasta, (or any other of your choice)
5 medium sized tomatoes,
1 large onion, finely chopped,
1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped,
1 tsp rosemary, (I used dried),
1 tsp thyme, (I used dried)
2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped,
1/4 cup mixed capsicum (red, yellow, green), diced,
1/4 cup celery, diced,
2-3 tsp chilli flakes,
Salt as per taste,
Pinch of sugar,
3-4 tbsp olive oil,


Method:
  1. Take the tomatoes and give a criss cross at the bottom of each tomato. Tip this into hot boiling water for 5-7 mins. The skin will loosen up. Peel the skin off and chop the tomatoes finely. 
  2. In a pan, heat olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and saute. Add the chopped onions and fry until golden brown.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Add the sugar, salt, crushed chilli flakes, rosemary, thyme, and basil leaves and cook until the oil separates. Allow it to cool.
  5. Boil the pasta as per the instructions given on the packet. 
  6. In another frying pan, add olive oil and add 1 tsp garlic. Saute it for a few seconds, and then add the capsicum and celery and mix well.
  7. Add the cooked pasta and toss it up well. Add the arabiatta sauce as required.
  8. Adjust the salt and spice and serve hot immediately.


The sauce once prepared, can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for upto 1 week. Use it with any sort of pasta for a quick meal.

Enjoy :-)
There are some people who enter your life like gems. These are the real diamonds. They have no ulterior motives, no inferiority complex, no superiority complex, no need to prove that they are better than you, or seek to have more than you. They don’t feel entitled and aren’t needy or dependent. They are not superficial or fake. They remind you of God and they understand you, when no other person does. They don’t wear a mask with you or pretend to be perfect. They are just real with you and honestly and sincerely only want good for you. You feel you can tell them anything without worrying that they will judge you or put you down for being imperfect. They know your flaws, but love you anyway. And they are loyal. You know they’ll be there for you. They'll always have your back. And best of all, time and distance doesn’t change this.

Just back from an amazing trip to Nagpur, my hometown. Had been for a school reunion. We were meeting each other after 20 years. Many friends couldn't make it due to some personal commitments, but the rest of us who made it, had the most amazing time of our lives. We just laughed and laughed and laughed. The bonding was so so good. Unimaginable. Nothing changed, except that most of us have put on some enormous amounts of weight. The 3 days that we were together, were really well spent and had an experience of a lifetime!!! 


Coming back to the recipe. This is a classic street food in most parts in Maharasthra. Served along with fried green chillies, this tastes heavenly, especially with ginger tea!


Makes 10-12
Ingredients:
2 cups sabudana/sago, soaked overnight, (check the process of soaking here)
1 big potato, boiled, peeled,
1 medium onion, finely chopped,
2 tbsp peanuts, roasted, crushed,
2 tbsp green chillies, finely chopped,
Salt as per taste


Method:
  1. In a bowl, put all the ingredients together, and mix well.
  2. Make small equal sized patties and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Heat oil for deep frying.
  4. Deep fry the patties until golden brown.
  5. Serve hot with green chutney


Check out another method to prepare sabudana here.

Enjoy :-)
Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands, however, most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.
As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. 'Are you a good farm hand?' the farmer asked him. 'Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,' answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help decided to hired him.

The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt well satisfied with the his work. Then one night the wind howled in loudly from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, 'Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!'
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, 'No sir, told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.'
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coop and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

Moral: When you're prepared spiritually, mentally and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life?

Author Unknown
Happy New Year to all my readers and well wishers! May this year be a year of growth and abundance for you.

This is the first blog post for this new year and am so excited. Tons of recipes lined up for this year...many of them I am waiting to try out for the first time. I wish to have atleast 300 recipes this year...and its a goal for 2014. Lets see if I can get there :-)

Kick starting the new year with Bruschetta recipe. Bruschetta is an antipasto from Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese; the most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomato, garlic and onion or mozzarella.


Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer. Its a great party pleaser too.


Serves 4
Ingredients:
2 small baguettes, sliced at an angle vertically,
1/2 cup basil pesto,
4-5 garlic pods,
Olive oil, as required,
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped,
1/2 cup tomato finely chopped,


Method:

  1. Place the sliced baguettes on a baking tray and slightly toast it for 7-8 mins at 200 degrees.
  2. Remove and arrange it in the serving plate.
  3. Rub the garlic pods on the toasted baguette slices. Drizzle with some olive oil.
  4. Spread a spoon full of pesto.
  5. Top it up with chopped onion and tomatoes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Give a generous drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately. 


You can serve it with your choice of toppings of olives, cheese, fresh cucumber, etc. The choices are endless and entirely upto your creativity.


Just loved it! It was truly delicious! Cant wait to make it again.

Enjoy :-)